I recently stumbled across an interesting blog in the US musing about the fact that 70-75% of nonprofit employees are women and wondering where all the men were.
I have been in the Volunteer management field for 13 years and have had some similar thoughts myself when it comes to the sector of Volunteer Management.
I happened to fall into Volunteer Management and instantly loved the role and have had 13 wonderful years in this sector. But I have to admit that from an early stage I did wonder why there weren’t more men in our field. It was very obvious to me, from an early stage, through attendances at network meetings, conferences and training workshops that I was very much in a small minority group. Mind you, there have been moments of good humour too. At the last Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management I attended I joined a table of 11 ladies for the retreat dinner. During our conversation I posed the question “where are all the men in our sector?” There was a brief pause until someone replied “Where are all the good looking men in our sector?” Ahem!
On a more serious note though when I pose some questions to myself about why this imbalance is the case in our sector I am challenged to reconsider my question given the fact that I imagine women would pose similar questions about career choices?
Why would I enter this sector when the pay is poor? (Whether perception of fact!)
Is there job security?
Is there opportunity for professional development?
Is there opportunity for advancement and promotion?
I’m no psychologist but does it all come down to motivation? Are men and women motivated by different things in different ways? Someone once told me that they believe that there were more women in the sector because “women were more naturally caring”. Huh? I am not too sure I buy that.
Volunteer Management for example is a dynamic profession in my view. It is challenging, rewarding, it effects change and it has the potential to make a significant impact on our society. It demands leaders, critical thinkers, intelligence, imagination, motivators and people who inspire and yes ...care!
A fascinating and inspiring career that should appeal to both sexes!